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Creating a Safe Space for Communication

What makes a conversation safe?

What makes you feel unguarded in communication with your partner? On the flip side, what makes you feel unsafe in communication? Being curious to explore the answers to these questions can lead to significant difference in your relationship.

Is there a way that your partner asks questions that makes you feel defensive? On the flipside, is there a way that your partner asks questions that makes you feel safe and open? 

Exploring the concept of safety in communication and relationship begins to open one up to increased possibility of safe communication. 

There are many elements that create safety in communication. 

One that is often overlooked is simple and profound at the same time. The concepts of intention and impact relate to safe communication. One person feels their good intention should necessitate positive impact on their partner. The partner though may feel hurt even with / despite the good intentions of their partner. Safety can increase when it is possible that one person can have a good intention and it can have a negative impact on their partner. The gap between intention and impact exists. 

Safe communication accepts that gap and acknowledges it which fosters one element that can begin to shrink that gap. Invalidating the gap of intention and impact typically escalates communication patterns where one partner seeks to make the other agree that good intention should equal good impact. This can complicate relationships greatly because it doesn't foster a safe communication where each partner is able to express themselves in a manner where they feel safe to think and feel for themselves. 

Setting an assumption that intention and impact can be different in a relationship can foster safety and allow for a deeper level of conversation that can grow intimacy between a couple.

Couples counselling can provide a space to explore safe conversations about difficult and uncomfortable topics. Reach out today to schedule a free consult.

Looking for a resource to do with your partner? 

Couples researcher John and Julie Gottman have a book called The Love Prescription: Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy which is based on research studying thousands of couples over forty years and builds on elements that their research indicates help foster connection and communication in a relationship.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash